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A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from votes
Release: 24 July 2015 (USA) /

A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile

Genre: Documentary
Director: Sophie Deraspe,
Stars:
Synopsis: When well-known Syrian blogger Amina Arraf - purportedly kidnapped by local authorities during the Arab Spring - was revealed to be an elaborate hoax persona, an entire international community realized it had been catfished. But the betrayal cut deepest for Canadian activist Sandra Bagaria, who had been involved in an online relationship with Amina. Playing out like a detective story, A GAY GIRL IN DAMASCUS reconstructs this astounding tale of global deceit from Sandra's perspective. As she crosses the globe in search of answers, questioning journalists, activists, and intelligence agencies, she prepares for a face-to-face confrontation with Amina's true creator. Written by SundanceNow Doc Club

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Critic Reviews


Greetings again from the darkness – from the Dallas International Film Festival. Social Media has changed so much about society: how information is dispersed, how we present ourselves, how we argue points of view, and even how relationships are structured. This documentary from Sophie Deraspe explores each of these points by dissecting a real world chain of events.

With events taking place during Syria's Arab Spring of 2011, Amina Arraf started a blog entitled "A Gay Girl in Demascus", where she wrote about both the dangers of being a lesbian in Syria, and the larger societal issues being faced by the populace living in the shadows of a dominating government regime. Her brave words garnered many followers, while also instigating an online romance with Sandra from Canada.

A few months later, Amina's blog entries suddenly halt and the concern from Sandra and other readers spreads to international media outlets. Ms. Deraspe offers an interesting blend of styles in her approach. On one hand, some of the first images we see come across as a deep artsy film; and then next thing we are getting is talking head interviews with reporters and other concerned followers mixed with actual TV newscasts from the period.

In order to avoid any spoilers, suffice to say that the story comes in two distinct parts. The second half provides some fascinating psychological studies in regards to trust and narcissism, while also forcing us to further question the complacency of news outlets in this new age of readily available information. As the proverbial onion layers are peeled back, we can't help but wonder who can be trusted and what steps are sufficient for verification.

Probably the biggest takeaway stems from the realization of just how easily we are manipulated and distracted by media outlets who determine what is "news" (what brings ratings) and what can be overlooked … the often more serious topics such as the Syrians who are still "dying in the dark". This excellent documentary will provide no shortage of material for discussion and soul-searching.

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